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Sabres at Lightning Preview: Sam Reinhart gets top line opportunity

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The former second-overall pick will be in the spotlight when the Sabres visit Tampa Bay tonight.

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Game #5

Buffalo Sabres (1-3-0) at
Tampa Bay Lightning (3-2-0)

Puck Drop: 7:00 pm EST | Amalie Arena | Tampa, FL
TV: MSG, Bell | Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Lightning Blog: Raw Charge

Dan Bylsma is once again playing with his lines, and this time it is Sam Reinart who gets a big chance. He'll be centering the top line, playing with Ryan O'Reilly and Tyler Ennis. It's a big change from the bottom six minutes he's been used to this year.

Tonight's opponent is a Tampa Bay team that went to the Stanley Cup last season, featuring Steven Stamkos. Noted #bust Jonathan Drouin has had an excellent start to the season, scoring one goal and five assists in five games.

Two Questions

1. How will Reinhart look on the first line, and how long does he stay there?

Reinhart hasn't excelled in the same way that Jack Eichel has this season, but he gets an opportunity to convince the Sabres he deserves to be in the NHL for a longer stint. Knowing Dan Bylsma, if he doesn't play well at the start of the game, he could move back down before it is over.

2. Will the Lightning struggle without Victor Hedman?

Tampa Bay's top defenseman will be sitting out tonight with injury. Will the Sabres be able to take advantage, and earn their first away victory of the season?

Projected BUF Lineup

O'Reilly - Reinhart - Ennis
Kane - Eichel - Gionta
Moulson - Girgensons - Foligno
Deslauriers - Larsson - McGinn

Gorges - Ristolainen
Weber - Franson
McCabe - Pysyk

Goal: Chad Johnson